Principal’s Corner

Principal's Communications
March 3, 2017

Morning Parents, Families, and Staff,

It has been a busy week here at Wedgwood as we return from the break and settle back into our systems and routines. I wanted to send out a few updates:

PBIS and the Golden Shoe Award:

For the past several weeks our Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) has focused on hallway expectations and having an orderly system that respects the learning environment of all students. To celebrate students and classes modeling excellent hallway behaviors we awarded our first Golden Shoes yesterday at our monthly PBIS Assembly. The Golden Shoe is an award given regularly to a K-2 and 3-5 class with the most staff nominations based on hallway behavior. Congratulations to Ms. Papke's 1st grade class and Ms. Wahl's 3rd grade class for receiving April's award. We are keeping out eye our in the hallways and will choose two new classes soon. For photos of the Golden Shoe Awards, check out my Twitter account below.

This week, our focus is turning to the bathrooms - where we had been seeing an increase in behavioral issues before the break. The bathroom is a key location where students have to display the Wedgwood Way (Caring, Respectful, Responsible) completely independently. Thursday and Friday, Administration has been meeting with each classroom at the bathroom, reviewing and modeling the expectations, and then practicing (voice volume, hand washing, trash). This has been a positive opportunity to clarify the expectations and for students to express positives and opportunities for better self-management based on their experiences with the bathrooms. Following this school-wide teach-to, we will be monitoring behavioral referral data and having individual conversations with students still struggling to show the Wedgwood Way independently in the bathroom.

Wheelie Shoes:

We have been seeing an increasing number of students wearing wheelie shoes to school and wheeling around the hallways during the school day. This raises safety issues and makes following our hallway behaviors challenging. Wheelie shoes should NOT be worn at school. If a student wears wheelie shoes to school, we will keep and extra screwdriver in the office to assist them in removing the wheels while on campus or attempt to call home to see if another pair of shoes can be provided.

5th Grade Promotion:

Because of the snow day, the last day of school has been moved to Monday, June 26. After talking with the 5th grade team, I wanted to let you know we have decided to keep 5th Grade Promotion as scheduled on the morning of Friday, June 23 (the exact time is TBD). We will keep you updated through emails and the Wedgwood Weekly, but I wanted to let 5th grade families know now for their planning.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Doug Ouellette | Principal


January 26, 2017

Morning Wedgwood Families,

Today is my first day back this week after fighting the flu, and I want to share a couple important items, so this may be a bit longer email than usual.

Wedgwood Celebration of Light

First, I want to thank all of our families, PTA members, and staff who have been helping visualize, coordinate, and launch our Celebration of Light event on Friday, February 3rd from 6:00 - 8:00pm. Our hope this year is to take favorite elements from our annual Lunar New Year Celebration and combine them with new opportunities to share our cultural heritages and experiences for all of us to learn more about each other as a school community. We have had a great turn out of food and activity table family volunteers, done in a sort of "science fair" style, as well as some traditional favorite like the Lion Dancers. Please make sure to put Wedgwood's Celebration of Light event on your calendars and I look forward to learning and celebrating with you there!

Wedgwood Supports Dunlap Elementary

In conjunction with our Celebration of Light event, I wanted to share another way our school community can help support students here in Seattle. As part of our celebration, we are taking this opportunity to also show our support for Dunlap Elementary 5th Grade, who is working to raise $10,000 to be able to share an Islandwood Camp experience this spring. Similar to our annual 5th grade camp experience here at Wedgwood, for Dunlap 5th grade:

The Islandwood experience is an essential component of the science curriculum. Students connect classroom learning with real life experiences that serve to contextualize and deepen their learning. The curriculum directly supports our science units in ecosystems, environmental science, and food science. Students will have a whole new way to express their learning and to feel like scientists. They will enjoy hikes, sing songs, and experience science in a whole new way. Islandwood builds community, develops leadership skills and promote self-confidence. When the students return from Islandwood, the excitement and pride is astonishing. This is truly a growing experience: academically, socially, and emotionally. (provided by Dunlap teachers)

Dunlap staff will have a booth at our Celebration of Light event to share more information about their wonderful students and this outstanding educational experience. We are hoping that our generous community can show their financial support by donating at the event to support Dunlap students and making a substantial dent in the amount of money they are trying to raise. If you are interested in supporting Dunlap but unable to attend the February 3rd event, please contact the Wedgwood Office and they can support you.

Wedgwood Circulation Principal Chat 2/2

Going into this year, I knew the new bell times would have a variety of positive and possible negative impacts on our school that we would need to be mindful of as we worked through the year. One of those impacts has been on the Wedgwood Circulation plan. Over the course of this year we have seen a steady increase in traffic and students being dropped off by vehicles and a drastic decline in bike riding and walking to school - and this has put some strain on our circulation systems. I have been out for the past two weeks from 7:40 - 7:55am and have seen that the system is busy but working. Last week, we had a couple spikes in unsafe driving behaviors from 7:55 - 8:00am and I have been trying to stay our a bit longer and have address them. I think it's important that we not allow a few driver's poor choices to undermine our entire system, but that we take this opportunity as a community to share, identify opportunities for growth and improvement, and to problem solve together. I will be hosting a Principal Chat on Thursday, February 2nd from 6:30 - 7:30pm in the Library and invite parents and families that want to workshop our current circulation plan and look at ways of supporting improvements to attend. I have also invited my colleagues from the Seattle Department of Transportation Services to attend as well to give us an update on the sidewalk construction project on 83rd Ave and to provide insight/feedback on circulation improvement ideas that we generate that evening. I know this puts two evening events back-to-back, but I felt since this focuses on student safety, I wanted to meet and discuss as soon as possible. Looking forward to partnering with all of you.

SPS Nutrition Survey - We need your voice!

Finally, I wanted to include a copy of this month's School Lunch Menu which includes not only our daily hot lunch menu and a delicious Chicken Butternut Squash Curry recipe to try at home, but it also includes a link to an important survey from SPS's Nutrition Services Department. As a member of the Superintendent's Task Force on Nutrition Policy, I and my team are looking for as much student and family feedback as we can get from this survey to help inform our work to revise and innovate nutrition policies for the District and increase hot meal participation. Whether your child uses the hot lunch program (which is open to all students) or not, your feedback will be appreciated.

Thanks everyone and stay health/quick recovery!

Doug Ouellette | Principal

Morning Wedgwood Families,

December's PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports) focus is the final pillar of the Wedgwood Way - Responsibility. At Wedgwood, we define responsibility as "Knowing you job, and doing it all on your own". At our PBIS assembly today, our 1st Grade classes will be leading the learning around this important component to our Wedgwood expectations. One of the key areas that I will be reviewing with students today that they can show responsibility here at school is at recess, and we will review the following key expectations:

Be Safe -

  • Use equipment safely (such as going down the slide, jumping with jump ropes verses swinging them, keeping hands off students climbing on the Spider)
  • Play games that don't include sticks, pinecones, or other non-recess objects (chasing with sticks, throwing pinecones, and using non-recess items can create a physical and social-emotionally unsafe environment)
  • Moving Carefully (being aware of others while playing on the playground, and avoiding potentially slick or icy areas)
  • Playing games that don't include play fighting/battling or where someone is "it" (we encourage imaginative play at school, but since we don't allow fighting or battle at school we shouldn't pretend it. Also, in many cases the person identified as "it" is not self selected, but rather selected by a larger group which has social-emotional implications and students are still learning to be responsive to verbal and emotional cues when someone is uncomfortable with being "it" and wants the game to stop.)

Be Kind -

  • Include others in your game or activity
  • Make sure everyone understands the rules (this is one of the most frequent issues - everyone wasn't playing the same game with the same rules)
  • Be a good sport and make positive comments (verses putdowns and "trash talk")
  • If someone asks you to stop a behavior or action - stop the behavior or action

Consistency is a key component to student success with these playground expectations which should hold true before, during, and afterschool. Although there is not school supervision after school, the playground is left open for students and families to enjoy addition play time and making social connections with other students here at school. However, students need to be monitored by an adult if they are remaining on campus and we need your support in correcting behaviors that run counter to the expectations above. I would also encourage parents to consider volunteering on the playground so our students see adults modeling not only academic behaviors, but positive play behaviors as well.

Thanks everyone, and have a great day!

Doug Ouellette | Principal


Dear Wedgwood Parents and Families,

Happy Friday! It has been a wonderful week back with all of our students focused on engaging learning while reviewing routines and expectations following the week-long break for students. I had the privilege of hosting my Principal Professional Learning Community (PLC) here at Wedgwood this week. They were impressed that the learning targets were clear to students, there was engaging and meaningful student discourse being fostered by staff and students, and the active use of public record (anchor-charts, posters, student work, examples, learning walls) to help students connect previous skills with their current learning.

Today kicks off the Wedgwood PTA's Annual Giving Campaign. Your student will be coming home with a packet that includes an introductory letter for this important fundraiser and pledge materials. It is critical to remember that this fundraiser, like all of this year's 2016-17 fundraisers, are working to fund next year's 2017-18 PTA Budget. Now more than ever, it is important for us to come together as a school community to help ensure that the school-wide programs and services we have come to value continue into next year.

On the Musical and Multi-Arts front, our Wedgwood Winter Concert is next Friday, 12/9 at Nathan Hale High School. I've included another copy of Ms. Waltzer's Winter Concert Parent Letter which contains all the logistical information about next Friday's concert. Also, the first batch of 3rd Graders will be coming home with their recorders and materials - be on the lookout.

Finally, just a reminder that I will be hosting a Principal Chat next Wednesday, 12/7 from 8:00 - 9:00am in the Cafeteria and from 6:30 - 7:30pm in the library. Our main focus will be on Equity and Inclusion, but we will also briefly chat about class sizes and budget,
Have a great weekend!

Doug Ouellette | Principal

Dear Wedgwood Parents and Families,

It's hard to believe we are already in the middle of October! This has been a great month focused on Caring around our school. We are also excited for our upcoming We appreciate the generosity of all of our students, families, and community members in raising money to support our students, learning activities around the school, and special community events sponsored by the PTA. I wanted to share a few updates with you:

Fall Celebrations 10/31 –
Each year at Wedgwood, we celebrate to coming of Fall by enjoying Halloween festivities on 10/31. If students choose to wear a costume, they can either wear it to school or bring it with them to wear for their class party. When planning with your child for their costume, please keep in mind the costume must be school appropriate - no masks, weapons, gore, or inappropriate language/content. Also, with the current local and national concerns, I am asking that students NOT wear any form of clown costume to school on this day. I want to ensure our celebrations remain a fun and safe time for all students and families. Be looking for information from your classroom teacher or room parent for more details about Monday, 10/31.

Safety –
Just a couple safety reminders…

  • Please do not use the drive ways of private residences near school property as a spot to park or turnabout. I have been contact by some of our neighbors who have had difficulty accessing their own driveways and are concerned about cars rushing into private driveways and rushing out with students and children playing who could be missed in a drivers line of sight.
  • We have seen an increase in dog feces being left on the playground/grass areas and being tracked in the building. Please share a reminder with your neighbors and Wedgwood community members that we want to have a clean and healthy school environment and to pick up after their pets. 
I also appreciate our Wedgwood families who have continued to abide by our No Animal signs and are not bringing pets on school property before, during, or after school on school days. We have many students with severe allergies, and this supports having a healthy and inclusive environment for all kids.

Thanks everyone, and have a great week!

Doug Ouellette | Principal


Dear Wedgwood Parents and Families,

Eliminating opportunity gaps and ensuring educational excellence for all is the most important issue of our time here in Seattle Public Schools. While SPS is considered a high performing urban district and continues to outperform similar districts academically on a national level, we continue to have unacceptably disproportionate opportunity and achievement gaps - particularly for our African-American students and students of color. We can and must do better to ensure high levels of learning for every student, in every classroom, every day.

At Wedgwood, we are focused on our collective commitment to strengthen and promote an inclusive community of learners who are caring, respectful, and responsible. This includes a year-long commitment to leading conversations with our students about diversity, inclusion, equity and fairness. We also continue to be focused on closing opportunity gaps within our own school and the larger SPS system.

On Wednesday, October 19, our staff and school community will join in solidarity with schools around the District to call attention to the importance of these issues and the impacts they have on the lives of our students, parents, families and community. Teachers are working in their grade level teams to decide on age and developmentally appropriate discussions and activates which may include:

  • Tying conversations to our Classroom Charters - How do we want to feel in the classroom, at school, in the world? What can we do to make sure that we feel that way and we help others to feel that way as well?
  • Read picture books that celebrate diversity
  • Initiate conversations about diversity and equal rights around the idea of fairness


I have had the opportunity to connect with our PTA Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a group of passionate and dedicated parents who want to support students, staff and families in opening and continuing a dialogue about these important issues. If you and your family are looking for additional resources to take part in this dialogue at home, please reach out to them at wwdiversity@gmail.com for support.

In a year that Wedgwood and Seattle Public Schools is focused on strengthening Positive Beliefs, Relationships, Learning and Partnerships – October 19th serves as a launching point for this important work. Our Wedgwood Equity Team and PTA Diversity and Inclusion Team will work in partnership this year to provide opportunities for dialogue (such as a community survey) and continued discussion around these issues for both students and adults.

Thank you for your continued support of our students, staff and families here at Wedgwood – we are stronger together!

Doug Ouellette | Principal


Dear Wedgwood Community,

Anytime a tragic event occurs nationally, such as yesterday at Townville Elementary in South Carolina, as parents… we hold our children a little tighter, and we think a little deeper about their safety and critical situations.

As principal, I spent the evening reflecting on these events and our own safety protocols. As a school community, we must continue to work in partnership together to ensure a safe school environment while maintaining a warm neighborhood feel. I wanted to take a moment today to review these protocols with you:

  • Adult supervision is provided on the playground starting at 7:40am each morning… please do not leave your child unsupervised before this time.
  • From 7:55am – 2:05pm, any adult in the building should be wearing an SPS staff badge or a Volunteer/Visitor sticker after having signed in at the Office. This policy is in place for the safety of students (knowing which screened adults are in the building) and adults (in case of an emergency, we can account for you).
  • I have reviewed with our custodial staff that the gates should be locked after the 7:55 seat bell rings, and should remain locked until shortly before dismissal at 2:05pm.
  • During the school day, one front door is the only exposed door accessible (with a sightline to Office staff at all times). Doors within the fenced school grounds, such as the playcourt doors, are left unlocked to accommodate student bathrooms. Additionally, one cafeteria door will occasionally be left unlocked for a short period of time monitored by our Cafeteria Manager to accommodate our SPS Food Service delivery. 
I have also reminded our teachers in portable to keep their doors locked during the school day so they are immediately prepared to lock down in case of an emergency.
  • For dismissal, adults should not use the building as a breezeway to the playground. Adults should wait until the gates are unlocked or wait in the front entry way until dismissal time unless they have signed in and are wearing a Volunteer/Visitor sticker.
  • I have included a synopsis of ourSafety Protocolsthat are posted throughout the building. 
Each month, we also review and practice one of these safety protocols with staff and students to evaluate our continued preparation and efficiency. In September, we held our annual Fire inspection and performed a Fire Drill in conjunction with the Seattle Fire Department. In October, we will be joining a variety of other schools and districts around the State in the Great Washington Shake-Out on 10/20 at 10:20am. This is an earthquake drill held at the same time state-wide to raise awareness for earthquake preparedness.


We have a Safety Team (comprised of Administration, Nursing Staff, Office Staff, and Teachers) which meets monthly to review our drill practices and safety plans, plan for trainings, and review issues that may arise related to safety in and around the building. This year our major focus will be reviewing and refining our Reunification Plan – how we would reunite students with parents after a critical emergency incident. We will be sharing this plan so each of you feel informed and can make your own family plan during the school year.

Wedgwood has an outstanding, highly trained staff and strong procedures in place. But it is our partnership together as a school community that makes a difference. I know that some of these procedures can at times feel inconvenient for adults, but thank you in advance for your continued support in keeping our students safe and cared for.

Doug Ouellette | Principal


Dear Wedgwood Families,

We are bringing our first full week to a close - and it has been a joy getting to know and reconnect with all of our students this week. As promised, here is a flyer for our Wedgwood Curriculum Night 2016 on Thursday, 9/22 so you can start making plans... we are looking forward to seeing you all there.

Also, I know that several Wedgwood families received communication from the District this week about the new Growth Boundaries for 2017-18. If you did not receive an email on 9/14, you are not impacted by these changes. If you did, here is a copy of a Map of the new Growth Boundaries for 2016-17 , a Growth Boundaries 17-18 Information Sheet , and a Grandfathering 17-18 FAQ . I want to support you by attending one of the community meetings with you so we can all hear the same message from the District. Unfortunately, none of us can attend the first community meeting at Eckstein because it is on our Curriculum Night on 9/22. However, I am planning on attending the community meeting at Viewlands Elementary School on Monday, 10/3 from 6:30 - 7:30pm if families impacted by these changes would like to join me.

Finally, I wanted to pass along a great enrichment opportunity for students through the Robinson Center for Young Scholars at the University of Washington. Their Saturday Program is an enrichment program offered to students who are currently in grades 2-8. Their classes are intended to provide intellectually ambitious students with challenge, inspiration, and fun, in a collaborative, supportive learning environment. This fall's courses will include creative writing, philosophy, and astronomy (and they are hoping to add a biology class as well). Here is a flyer with more information.

Have a great Friday!

Doug Ouellette | Principal



Evening Wedgwood Families,

 I wanted to follow up on my note from today - this is a good opportunity for me to share how I communicate about emergency situations that happen at Wedgwood:

Thank you,

Doug Ouellette | Principal
Wedgwood Elementary | 2720 NE 85th St | Seattle, WA 98115

 



<<back

  • My whole-school communication will happen after the situation has been resolved. During an emergency situation my top priorities are students, the physical and emotional safety of students and staff, and working with emergency responders. I will typically not communicate during an event except through my twitter account and only if that communication does not jeopardize student safety.
  • Following an event, I will share the facts around the situation that has occurred with the Wedgwood community. Just a reminder that individual information - names, medical information, student discipline, and all information contained in student records are confidential and will not be shared. Sharing these details would be a violation of student/family rights on my part.
  • If a situation were to involve your child, I would communicate all information with you directly via phone (or email depending on the situation).
  • If a situation put students or the Wedgwood community at risk (such as an infectious illness), the nurse or I would communicate directly with families and with the community.
    Today was an isolated medical emergency, handled by the office team. We put precautions in place (such as using alternate hallway routes) to limit students witnessing the emergency response. We did not go into a shelter in place, and our schedules remained normal.

Doug Ouelette

Follow Doug on Twitter at 
https://twitter.com/WedgWPrincipal



Contact Info:
Phone: 206.252.5711 | 206.552-4726 (cell)  
E-mail: dcouellette@seattleschools.org


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